Oct 27, 2009
Silvia, Colombia
Elevation 2647m

Silvia is the center of the Guambiano region. The Guambianos are considered one of the most traditional indigenous group in Colombia and every Tuesday they come into the town of Silvia for market day to trade and socialize. This is the first indigenous markets I have seen and photographed in Colombia. Colombia does not have a high indigenous population but as I travel further south and close to Ecuador, indigenous cultures are starting to appear.

This market day was beautiful. The town square is filled with Guambianos in traditional grabs, the women walk around the town with a spindle in one hand spinning yarn as they mill about. The vendors in the market is a mixture of Guambianos and Colombians. There are Guambianos selling fruits and vegetables but all the butchers at the market appears to be Colombian. I suspect it would be harder for the Guambianos to come into Silvia and sell meat and such as there would be more complicated logistics involved, such as the transporation of the animials and a location for slaugher. Or it could also be possible that Guambianos regularly slaugher animals in their own village so when they come into Silvia, their need for meat is limited.

What stands out from market day here at Silvia are the little details:
– Guambianos couple wearing matching work boots with same color shoe laces.

– A guy walking around the market demonstrating a chain saw, turning on the motor and making the children cry while the crowd gathers and the price of the chain saw is excitedly whispered through the crowd.

– The unique features and faces of the Guambianos.

– How the town square is colored with the blue of the Guambiano garb and they sit about and have visits with each other and the Colombian town folks of Silvia. There is no seperation and distinction.

– How the Guambianos line up outside of post office or other buildings of official nature so that they can take care of whatever modern life logistics that needs to be taken care of. This contrast between the effort to hold on to the tradition but also giving in to the demands of the modern world.

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